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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Regardless of the changes the new CBA made to amateur draft, the Red Sox are going to be without a true first-round pick or a top 30 selection. In a nut shell, the signing of Julio Lugo gave the Dodgers the Sox pick. This will be the first draft since 2004 that the Sox will be without such a valuable pick and coupled with the new CBA rules, the Olde Towne Team will be hard pressed to be rated by Baseball America as having one of the top drafts.

The Sox do have an option to supplement a likely relatively weaker 2007 draft by signing the last draft-and-follow class of this decade. The new CBA eliminated the possibility of the DFE.

With the new Aug. 15 drop-dead signing date, the draft-and-follow process will be no more. But because teams made their picks in 2006 with the DFE rule in place, they'll be allowed to sign their junior college players and fifth-year seniors next spring after their college seasons end.

The Sox can sign any 2006 drafted player who attended a junior college or fifth-year seniors. This includes Texass southpaw, Brandon Belt.

Now at San Jacinto (Texas) JC after reversing a previous commitment to Texas, Belt is a projectable 6-foot-5, 180-pound lefthander. Early last spring, he flashed an 88-93 mph fastball and a promising curveball, though he needs more strength to maintain that stuff. Boston drafted him in the 11th round.

Belt was thought of as top 75 talent before the draft, but he dropped due to his bonus demands and his “commitment” to the Longhorns. The Sox should take one of last opportunities to flex their draft day financial muscle by inking Belt and other DFEs.


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